The idea was raised by the old Sage of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett, a man rich as Croesus, who has reached a stage in life where he realises that he can’t take it with him, but has so much that he can’t get rid of it fast enough. He wants to pay more tax to the United States, and, as is always the case, wants everybody else to make the same noble gesture, to help the country get back on its feet again.
Now, if I, a former mere bank clerk, know that this is a piece of window-dressing, you can bet Warren and the M and S bloke know it too. Whatever their generous contributions to their nations’ exchequers, in the context of our economy, and the huge American one, the effect will be as a duck farting in thunder.
I am still awaiting (as is the IRS) the results of the case concerning tax disputes from Berkshire Hathaway for the last decade (see link above). Mr Buffett needs to make up his mind.Pay more tax? Give it a rest. Not just punitive rates of income tax, we’ve got road tax, council tax, stamp duty, inheritance tax. Even the good old bank deposit account, where we put aside for a rainy day what’s left after the first moiety of taxation, and then find ourselves taxed again on the interest. By all means, pay more tax if it makes you feel better, but spare us the grand gesture.